Filmmakers practice skills on campus

Jack Perez instructs the students during the filming of their short. Photo Gabriel Lucich


Jack Perez teaches a new generation of filmmakers. 

By Gabriel Lucich

The Clackamas Print offices were invaded on Wednesday, Nov. 1, before class began for the day, by  a motivated team of auteurs from Jack Perez’s Digital Media Communications class in order  to film a scene for their class project.

Michael T. Agnew, 50, directed  the scene which, when finished, should be around two minutes long. The short film, with the working title, “Death Sticks,” is an interaction between two students, played by Chris Long, 21, and Lucas Roberg, 20. 

Roberg’s entrepreneurial character sells a fake AI generated cheat sheet to Long, claiming “It’s AI, you know it can’t be wrong.” Long’s character then discovers the deception, and chases, then retaliates against, Roberg.

“I’ve always wanted to become an actor or break into voice acting,” said Roberg.

Watching the crew work through the processes of blocking positions, going over dialogue, positioning the microphones and getting the camera angles perfect was very entertaining. 

Students Lane Harris, 16, and C.J. Tarver, 17, handled the sound and camerawork. Both are high school students taking the DMC course at the Oregon City campus. 

“Mr. Perez realized that not many of the students were working together on projects, so he assigned this last-minute midterm project for the class to work on,” said Agnew. 

Instructor Perez said he wanted to encourage teamwork. 

“I thought the students would benefit from working as a crew, sooner rather than later,” said Perez. “It wasn’t a last minute idea, but I didn’t expect them to fully read the syllabus, so some of them were definitely surprised.”

“Up until now, all of the assignments have been individual assignments, say moving camera or subjectivity or use of a close-up,” said Perez, who directed the pilot for “Xena Warrior Princess” in New Zealand. “We show them parts of classic and contemporary movies… like this is how a close up is used in ‘Jaws,’ or whatever other movie we looked at. They’re not working together, as they’re kind of all over the place.” 

“In my experience, in the real world and in film school, you’re going to work with people, work with a crew,” he said. “Working in teams allows you to recognize everyone’s strengths, and to develop friendships with like minded students.”

Perez is new to the Clackamas Community College faculty this year. A graduate of NYU and a veteran of the TV and movie business, has worked on many well-known scripted and reality TV programs over his 30+ year career. He said he’s looking forward to sharing his knowledge and real-world skills with more CCC media students.


Gabriel Lucich